Patients' role and the importance of a coordinated strategy for reducing health inequalities throughout Europe is placing EFCCA in a privileged position within the European arena. The European Commission Health Programme “Together for Health 2008-2013”recognises and stresses the importance of giving a voice and a better visibility to patients and their needs especially when organised in associations and / or structured organisations.
EFCCA is therefore not only a set of 31 national IBD patients' associations but an important and well-known interlocutor whose mission goes well beyond its support to National Associations in facilitating exchanges and cross-frontier activities.EFCCA is a concrete and tangible example that European citizens with peculiar needs and claims can be effectively represented and have a proactive role in addressing policies and actions at a European level.
In 2011 a small EFCCA delegation met with Mrs Darmanin, head of Cabinet for Commissioner Dali (DG Health and Consumers’ protection). It was the first time that EFCCA had the chance of directly presenting its mission and goals to the European Commission. During the meeting agreements were made for stronger collaboration and to send EU official to participate in future EFCCA activities.
In 2012 we celebrated for the first time World IBD Day in the European Parliament. This had been the outcome of EFCCA´s lobby activities with several Members of the European Parliament. EFCCA gained the support of a group of MEPs to launch a Parliamentary Question on the rights of people living with IBD.
In 2014 there were elections to the European Parliament and EFCCA continued it´s lobbying and networking efforts with MEPs favourable towards EFCCA´s mission and objectives. During a conference in December entitled “ IBD: A Rising Threat to the Health of Young Europeans” policy-makers, medical professionals and patients’ representatives gathered to discuss the latest evidence in IBD research and identify strategies how European health policies could better reduce patient suffering and improve the quality of treatments and their daily life. The event was hosted by Member of the European Parliament Rebecca Harms, Co-Chair of the Greens/European Free Alliance political group, and was organized by UEG in cooperation with the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO), the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN), and the European Federation of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Associations (EFCCA).
Top photo: EFCCA chairman, Marco Greco with Mrs Darmanin, head of Cabinet for Commissioner Dali (DG Health and Consumers’ protection)
Second photo: EFCCA chairman, Marco Greco and MEP Sergio Cofferati at the World IBD Day event 2012 in the European Parliament
Third photo: delegates at the “From EU citizenship to IBDzenship”conference in the European Parliament